A brief introduction to wine culture

Whether you have just sipped your first glass of red and love it, have been drinking wine for years, or you are a restaurant owner wanting to top up on their knowledge of wine and wine culture, wine culture is a huge topic.

Wine, it’s part of our history!

It is difficult to underestimate the impact and influence of wine, not only on modern culture, but even on the development of mankind. That may sound a little over-the top, until you consider that the first written record of winemaking comes from the Book of Genesis, which says Noah planted a vineyard after exiting the ark. Want a more scientific view? According to a study published by the American Chemical Society in 2005:

“Ancient Egyptians believed in properly equipping a body for the afterlife, and not just through mummification. King Tutankhamun eased his arduous journey with a stash of red wine.”

But the history of wine dates much further back then the Egyptians, it goes as far back as 7,000 BC

Wine culture in the UK today

Wine has been part of human culture for thousands of years, but what part does it play in the UK today? According to a 2019 survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Wine Drinkers UK, “Wine is Britain’s favourite alcoholic drink.”

Drinking wine in UK stat

Let that sink in. More people (81%) drink wine, than drink either beer or spirits (both 79%). To put this data another way, 33.9 million people in the UK drink wine.

When asked to pick their favourite alcoholic tipple, wine was the clear favourite too, with 28% of the respondents making it their preferred drink. Beer came second with 23% with spirits bringing up the rear with only 20% of the vote.

 Wine writer and presenter Helena Nicklin commented on these results:

These findings put to bed the lazy, outdated stereotype of wine as a preserve of the middle classes. They show very clearly, across the board, that it is the nation’s number one alcoholic drink. More people drink it than beer or spirits and, when asked to name their favourite drink, it trumps every other alcoholic drink.”

Which wines are people drinking?

The same survey also looked at which wines were the most popular. It will come as no surprise that the favourite wine type among UK drinkers was a dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, chosen by 41% of respondents. Full-bodied red wines such as Malbec or Shiraz came second with 38% and the increasingly popular sparkling wine Prosecco came third with 34%. Fans of a rich, oaky white such as Chardonnay will be disappointed to discover it came a lowly seventh, with only 17% of people naming it as their favourite wine.

Most popular wines

The fact that over a third of respondents named a sparkling wine as their favourite, should not come as a surprise. Analysis by the industry analysts IWSR suggests that “the remarkable growth of sparkling wine in the UK will continue” with UK consumption of all sparkling wine climbing from 14.4m nine-litre cases in 2017 to 16.2m by 2022. English sparkling wine alone is forecast to add 100,000 cases to the market in the period to 2022. (By the way, did you know there are over 700 individual vineyards in the British Isles producing over 10 million bottles of wine each year?)

Why do people drink wine?

Wine has been part of our lives for thousands of years and its popularity is increasing, but why? 

Ernest Hemingway famously said:

“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”

What we hear time and time again from clients is that people drink wine because of the overall experience it offers. Here are our top five reasons that people drink wine:

1. Wine tastes great!

2. Drinking wine during a meal can enhance and complement the flavour of food.

3. Wine helps you relax and unwind.

4. It helps make social gatherings more social and memorable.

5. It really does taste great!

What other people say about wine!

It’s not only us that think wine is amazing, let us leave you with three of our favourite quotes on the subject.

The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.” ― Benjamin Franklin, circa 1700s 

Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.” ― Alexander Fleming 

Here at Sparkling Wine, we help restaurants and bars serve beautiful wines to their customers, alongside a variety of on-tap cocktails, single-serve cocktails and dispensing equipment. We would love to hear from you if you have any questions about how we can help your bar or restaurant.

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